ICC World Cup 2019: Dimuth Karunaratne Likely to be in Contention for a World Cup Spot
Sri Lanka Cricket team’s top-order batsman Dimuth Karunaratne, who has not played ODI cricket since 2015, is likely to be in contention for a World Cup spot in England and Wales. Meanwhile, Sri Lanka Cricket has asked Karunaratne to stay back in the country. The southpaw was supposed to feature for Hampshire for the first part of 2019.
Karunaratne likely to lead Sri Lanka
However, Dimuth Karunaratne will play in the provincial one-day tournament which will give the selectors time to assess his suitability for the role. The decision comes after Sri Lanka’s current captain Lasith Malinga is yet to notch up a win in nine matches. So far, Karunaratne has played only 17 ODIs scoring 190 runs at an average of 15.83. Speaking to the reporters, the experienced cricketer admitted that there is no confirmation yet. But there is a possibility that Karunaratne may lead Sri Lanka in the showpiece event commencing from May 30.
Sri Lanka is likely to hold camps ahead of the pinnacle tournament after the provincial championship. As a result, the management have asked Dimuth Karunaratne to appear in the domestic competition. If Karunaratne manages to impress, he will be playing his first ODI after a gap of four years.
“The selectors haven’t confirmed anything, but they’ve told me to keep in mind there’s a possibility I could become one-day captain,” Karunaratne said.
“They’ve asked me to stay back for the provincial tournament. If I get picked for the World Cup squad, there will be camps and training after that as well, so I might not be able to go to Hampshire in those months,” he added.
Karunaratne, a Test regular, has played in ODIs very occasionally. However, after leading Sri Lanka in the historic two-Test series win against South Africa, he has now become a hot contender for the ODI captaincy. Following the success, Ashantha de Mel, the chairman of selectors told Sunday Times in an interview that the committee wants to see what Dimuth did for the Test team, with the ODI team.
However, they are yet to finalise on it, and Karunaratne is still only a contender. Incumbent leader Lasith Malinga is still in the race while there are speculations that all-rounder Angelo Mathews may take up the role considering his popularity among the teammates.
Sri Lanka will begin their campaign in the World Cup against New Zealand on June 1 at the Sophia Gardens.
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